The unequal distribution of the social determinants of health, such as education, housing and employment, drives inequalities in physical and mental health, reduces an individual’s ability to prevent sickness, or to take action and access treatment when ill health occurs.
These inequalities are complex and embedded in society but they are also preventable. The dimensions of inequality are complex and overlapping as represented in the overlapping dimensions of health inequalities.
Inequalities such as deprivation, low income and poor housing have always meant poorer health, reduced quality of life and early death for many people.
The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly exposed how these existing inequalities - and the interconnections between them such as race, gender or geography, are associated with an increased risk of becoming ill with a disease such as COVID-19 (Coronavirus (COVID-19) Related Deaths by Ethnic Group, England and Wales: 2 March 2020 to 15 May 2020; Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19).